Thanks to technology, today’s farmers are able to save time and money.
Sophisticated agriculture technology such as Geographic Information System (GIS) is created by a computing background that makes it possible to generate complex view about our fields and to make valid agrotechnological decisions.
Crops are location-based and this makes GIS an EXTREMELY relevant tool for farmers.
For example, farmers use precision GPS on the field to save fertilizer. Also, satellites and drones collect vegetation, topography and weather information from the sky.
Farmers use precision agriculture because they can reduce the amount of fertilizer applied on the field. Not only do farmers save money on fertilizer, but they save the environment from over-application. This is because a lot of the excess fertilizer tend to end up in streams and rivers by run-off.
These are what First World countries are advancing as they seek to meet the 4th Industrial Revolution.
However, South Africa at large is patiently silent on this area of development.
The Western Cape Agriculture was the only province to date that has developed this GIS. Speaking at the 3rd Agri Symposia, Joyene Isaacs HOD of Elsenburg, said using the GIS tool ‘I am able to know where are the farmers, what their challenges and needs, how much it will cost and what’s to be done.”
The department has started plans to conduct drone classes for its farmers.
According to Esri, an international supplier of the geographic information system software, the company posits that “GIS organizes geographic data so that a person reading a map can select data necessary for a specific project or task.”
For agriculture, it means that a farmer balances the inputs and outputs on a farm, helps increase production rate and able to manage land efficiently.
In South Africa, GCIS has shown positive results on crop estimates. The National Department of Agriculture Crop’s Estimate Liaison Committee, SAGIS, NAMC, etc relies on the PICES system to produce grain estimates (supply and demand).
The future growth of agriculture must come from new technologies and organised agriculture will need to start planning around it. Sustainable agriculture, for example, relies on such technologies in order to prevent future livestock diseases and soil erosion.